The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday 31 October 2011


It was death anniversary of Indira Gandhi – October 31. Tributes poured in by different individuals and groups according to the affiliation they had. Among the lot was one unusual group – bunch of Hindi news channels (some English too!). This bunch has extended its appetite recently. The eyeball game is breaking all the barriers and for the moment its absolute reign of sensationalism. Special shows on legendary figures are the latest fad. But here is the catch.

If the figure had a normal death, it is not likely to be promoted much as the story will not be saleable. So figures like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, JL Nehru, Jayaprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia are not on the cards. Even Subhash Chandra Bose is seen as something stale as his disappearance mystery has been repeated so many times that no ‘juice’ is left if we go by the standard newsroom language today.  

But if the leader was assassinated - it makes a perfect story for the editorial sentiments prevailing now.

So we had many shows on Mahatma Gandhi this year on his birth anniversary and the interesting thing was most of them were talking about his assassination (on the day he was born) delving into gory details like how the conspiracy was hatched, what sort of ammunition was used, specifics of the bullets and so on. Hindi channels were leading the pack. Not even a single show was devoted to discuss the Mahatma’s ideals and what happened to his vision of India. India revisited the Mahatma through the successful ‘August Jan Lokpal’ movement but this bunch of media ‘hawkers’ riding on the wave of debased sensationalism sought to exploit a commercial gain even in that.

Earlier this year, Rajiv Gandhi’s death anniversary was the same story. Editorial planners put every effort to make the shows as high on fear quotient as possible. Finding bizarre details into every minute of the day Rajiv was assassinated reached to the extreme level. Heightened politicking on mercy pleas of Rajiv’s killers and this being the 20th death anniversary gave silly looking ideas like 20 lapses that led to Rajiv’s assassination or validity of the mercy petitions. A gruesome assassination by international terrorists - it might have thousands lapses who knows. Some of the shows went even into the territory of inviting debates on ‘trial by media’.

Today and the last day it was about Indira Gandhi. And most of the shows were based on last hours of her life with reconstruction of events showing how she was killed – minute by minute details. Most of the shows had names based on a line of one of the speeches she made where she talked about her life and every drop of her blood to be used for the motherland. This line was used to headline the shows based purely on her assassination. Also, Indira talking about her death in her speeches was extensively used to contextualize these assassination based shows. Don’t we use word ‘death’ to qualify sincerity and commitment of our words – like we says even if I were to die today I will breath last taking my motherland’s name? Again, not a single show was focused on why Indira was called Iron-lady of India though each of them had promos slugged ‘XYZ-blah blah----Indira, the Iron-lady of India’! What rubbish!

And this fad is just not limited to the Indian figures. It is international. This bunch of Hindi news channels (and some English, too) can claim to have international news in their day plans at least here. (Though the expertise and knowledge of international happenings is largely a sterile domain for them) So brutal murder of Gaddafi is repeated again and again to the extent that watchdogs have to intervene to restrict airing of clips, otherwise who knows for how long the mad rush to google and air the most gruesome clip would continue. For 2/3 days, there was no major news on Libya except the few seconds of clips showing last moments of Gaddafi’s life. Not even a single show was on what would be the road ahead for Libya. Not even a single show was on the plight of war widows, orphaned children or raped women though Gaddafi’s female bodyguards were prominently on air.

We had many of our media representatives in Egypt during the Tahrir Square uprising as it was visually so strong. But as the movement prolonged and it seemed the solution was not near, all of them packed up and came back. Pity us. None had the knowledge and the expertise to read the writing on the wall. Just few days later, Hosni Mubarak announced to step down. That was a historic day and not a single Indian media worker was there. Pity them. Some shows were made using inputs from wires but only on the night when it had happened. There were no gory visuals on offer as the transition after Mubarak stepped down was quiet and bloodless. So no gory clips to be googled! So no more extended shows! Egypt is yet to find the road to democracy with recent surge in violence but we had not even a single show on this bunch of news channels discussing the road ahead for Egypt when Mubarak had stepped down.

Yuck. The list is long. There are many more such fads having a sustained run on this bunch of news channels.

In an age when one news channel from another can only be identified from the ‘logo’, this mad rush has a future to continue. Expect some more crass follies in the garb of information empowerment.

Sunday 30 October 2011


A press release this evening signed by Anna Hazare said this after he had discussion with Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Prashant Bhushan who were reportedly in Ralegan Siddhi to apprise Anna of the Saturday Core Committee meet. It tells us of a good damage control exercise may be on the right track away from the rhetoric of the Core Committee meet in Delhi on Saturday.

After key members like Santosh Hegde, Medha Patkar including Anna Hazare had decided on not attending the Saturday Core Group meeting sighting this or that reason, nothing much was expected from this ‘gathering’ and ultimately what happened proved it was indeed a gathering only where nothing transformative could have been framed or initiated on. So after the meeting ended, we had the expected speaker speaking on the expected line with the resolution this statement, "The meeting was of the view that lakhs of volunteers and along with the core committee members have played a significant role in the movement and there was no question of dismantling the committee. In seeking to divert attention, the government is attempting to tarnish the movement by targeting the individuals. We will give a befitting reply to the government and not allow it to weaken the movement."

That was not even an interlude to what surfaced today. Anna Hazare talks of framing a constitution to run the movement that will deal with the structure and character of the people in the expanded scheme of things. It is a welcome step. Hopefully, we will see more of the Core Committee members speaking on related issues and not just 2/3 faces in the changed set-up. That will bring infusion of fresh ideas, many more perspectives to be debated and a sustained flow of energy.

It will help engage the opponents of the Lokpal Movement on many fronts.

  • All the three talking faces now, Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi and Bhushan, have had their share of controversies irrespective of the fact that their acts have largely been free of allegations of corruption barring the Bhushan duo.
  • There are many social activists with unblemished track record who can be respectfully invited to be part of the movement.
  • Also, there should be no problems with religious leaders being parts of it barring them who are so visibly political like Ramdev.
  • The constitution should be framed keeping in mind the fact that it must utilize the resources fully and no member should quit the movement sighting reasons like what Rajinder Singh and PV Rajagopal have quoted.
  • Also, having more faces with active voices would make it difficult for the government to target individual members of the movement.
A movement like ‘Lokpal’ needs to have a pan-India team of committed volunteers, say two representatives in each state. Adding to it the count of the Union territories, the number goes well beyond the 50 mark. If a pan-India movement has to be sustained, that is not a big figure when the whole movement has found a uniting voice in the Anna Symbolism.

  • Even the base figure of 50 strong Core Committee members who are all on same trajectory voicing each other to propel ahead would make it extremely difficult for the government to target the movement indirectly by directly targeting the personal and professional lives of the Core Committee members, something that is happening now.
  • If Anna is targeted, people voice against the government. That is not happening with the present Core Group members. In shameful incidents Prashant Bhushan was badly beaten and Arvind Kejriwal was attacked with chappal but we did not see even a small pocket of public going livid over it. Bitter politicking followed nut no protests ensued. How the public reacts on character assassination of Anna should reflect with similar public response if other members of the expanded Core Committee are attacked.
That would come by an absolute realignment of the focus to the ‘Lokpal Bill’ with ground level work by social activists to connect more and more people to it. It is premature to say that the movement has scaled the total of 120 crore Indians. Much has to be done for that on the ground level and it is needed to be accepted honestly.

  • Once the scale has become so significant that it has reached the hinterland (something that cannot happen without taking the grassroots social workers in the fold), masses across the sociopolitical spectrum would find a spontaneous connect with the cause and its leaders (obviously not political leaders of the day but the grassroots workers).
  • If that happens, the silly strategists of the government would never dare to venture into the territory of character assassination that they are finding so lucrative now. The loose cannons will have to find the dock to hide somewhere then.
Another good and most necessary outcome of this evening was Anna saying of embarking on touring many parts of the country for the ‘Lokpal Movement’. If it happens it will be enough to send the government in a tizzy. ‘Lokpal’ has come into the perception of majority of the urban Indians. Taking this perception to the rural masses will really make it creeping into the psyche of the common Indian. Once that battle is won, it is the clear road ahead to follow.

Till then let’s follow Swami Vivekananda’s wisdom: Arise, Awake and Stop not till the Goal is Reached.

Saturday 29 October 2011


You’re a story. I am a story. We all are stories waiting for our storyteller to arrive on the scene. He comes our way. We may, may not realize his presence. Stories do come across storytellers. They may, may not see the story.

Every story is subject to specific specifics. The story may be multiply told or the storyteller may decide to tell it only to the subject, the person-in-focus, or the person-in-focus may guide the storyteller about nuances of the story. Things happen subtly at this level (a practical case in point - stories told and retold by people in love – both are storytellers and stories in their two-people universe – isn’t it?). He may ask the storyteller – come and please tell me how my story can be worded; is it worth an effort?; can it be foretelling?; can you make me feel special by wording it?; should it be specific or I should advise you to go with a generic theme? And in the end he may ask the storyteller – please do not manipulate my life while telling this story; or, please don’t be absolute with every facet of my life while telling the story.

The person-in-focus may request the storyteller to know if his story can be textured to spread the message of his life. He may be propelled by the thought - “All my life I have not allowed my conscience to hear others deciding on or opinionating about me but now I want to allow others to give a chance by opening a window in my life to look-in, to think, and to draw their own personal interpretations.”

Alternatively he may be driven by the thought – “My whole life has been an open book. My story has been an easy access but it needs a wider audience as I believe my life has a message to serve.” Can he find his storyteller? Anything but he is certainly a story like you and me.

Friday 28 October 2011


I do not want to stray
Let me not be lost into the sway
I do not want to follow
Let me not be so hollow
I do not want to be stirred
Let me not be so dusky detoured
I do not want to champion
Let me not be in that oblivion
I do not want to represent
Let me not be that complacent
I do not want to guide
Let me not be into taking any side
I do not want to disturb
Let me not be feel the curb
I do not want to distract
Let me not write that syntax
I do not want to be restricted
Let me not be so complemented
I do not want to feel might
Let me not be on that flight
I do not want to pray
Let me not follow that way
I do not want to preach
Let me not commit that breach
I do not want to be so wide
Let me take my own ride 

I do not want to stray
Let me not be lost into the sway

I just want to be me
Let me be what I need to be 

Thursday 27 October 2011


Criss-crossing lines, head lights
Life passing on high-way
As if nothing happened
In the headlights pale yellow
Crimson flashy lipstick
Visible from a far away windshield
To solicit customers
I stopped with halting creek
Into the world of oldest profession
Running from ages..
The rules are same
Game is old…
Revisiting the darker side
Of temporary passions
Saving lives…saving families
In the same friendly darkness
Life is at stand-still
Like a spent passion
Hunger, sex… providing it all
With the same dull energy
Of an reluctant night
The duty has to be done
The night has to pass…
Leaving way for another night
Of bruises and fulfilling the
Unfulfilled desires…
Of mankind…this is rarely kind…
Forgetting the old bruises
The high-way sex workers
Get ready for another night of
Borrowed energy and stuffy make-up
Please follow the link for more of it on Sai Padma’s blog:

This one is a part of a poem written by Sai Padma, a friend in regular communication circle, a source of inspiration and a committed disability activist. A Polio survivor with 70% disability, she is someone who has created an identity for herself that is beyond borders. And she has achieved a scale in her field of activity in spite of being struck by Polio very early followed by many other ailments. She has had to go through painful medical treatments. Now she heads an NGO, Global Aid (, raises funds for ‘differently-abled, runs a hostel-cum-school for tribal children, regularly writes, loves to travel and aspires to scale the Earth. She is Commerce and Law Graduate and is completing CA (Final) and MBA (Finance). Married to Pragnanand Busi, a Development professional and Human Rights activist, she lives in Vishakhapatnam.

Links related to her:

Wednesday 26 October 2011


All that it has not been doing in last two months!

An emergency meeting of the core group members has been called on Saturday. It is not clear if Anna Hazare would attend this meeting. Hopefully it should be aimed at damage control. Much is at stake. At stake is the hope shown to the common man that he has a voice and he can make it heard. But this ‘core group’ has become a sort of enigma – much in news but lacking in substance if we see the developments in last two months. Core group should have been the filtered group to consolidate activities on other levels and in different parts of the country to take cumulative decisions of impact to send a united message at the national level. But there is just this ‘core group of five faces facing the crisis of trust now. There are no other visibly active faces. There happens to be 22-member ‘India Against Corruption’ core group but it comes in news only with headlines like members quitting over differences or members uncomfortable over issues.

Much needed to be done and on a war-footing. NOW.

  • There has to be just one focus – ‘Lokpal’ – efforts should not be diverted unless this goal is achieved. Any agenda diversification is like diluting the stakes involved in having a powerful ombudsman institution.
  • The ‘Jan Lokpal’ focus has to be realigned. Initially it was about bringing the proposed ombudsman institution on legislative platform. Now it has to be ‘Lokpal’ awareness campaign intended to reach to the masses outside metros and big cities.
  • A strategy should be drawn to chart the ways to find how the ‘Lokpal’ can be put on the trajectory the RTI Act has been on. RTI has been a real empowerment tool and ‘Lokpal’ needs to go beyond that.
  • The movement since its genesis till now has sustained on the wave of Gandhian Symbolism embodied by Anna Hazare. In the next step, an efficient team is needed to consolidate and strengthen the gains made. A core group of these five would never be able to achieve this. Activists from diverse backgrounds, areas and expertise need to come together.
  • Gandhi has always been relevant and the reignited Gandhian fervour has given the much needed chance to revisit the Gandhian ideology and political vision. The need is to capitalize on it.
  • Multiple groups on the ground, beyond social networking, are needed to connect the dots, from Nagaland to Gujarat, from Ladakh to Rameshwaram.
  • The difference of internal democracy, dissension and diversity of opinion is to be understood. A solid team for a cause like ‘Lokpal’ needs to maintain the culture of healthy debate on diversity of opinion.
  • As the human force associated with such causes are volunteer in nature, strict discipline in observing the mutual respect is a must – and members quitting the ‘Lokpal’ movement are sighting Kejriwal’s dictatorial ways as one of the main reasons. No one, not even Anna Hazare can be allowed to hijack the momentum achieved – and Arvind Kejriwal needs to understand it.
  • Agreed, media management including social networking was apt during the August Fast but it has been equally lethargic post-August. Media can be managed to propagate ideas and ideals to spread the message to strengthen the ‘Lokpal’ movement. Instead of reacting, proactive measures can be designed on media and social networking platforms to aware and include.
  • And above all, the need is to save the soul from empty rhetoric of loose cannons. People understand – support to April and August Fasts shows that – they will understand even now. Getting to the same level of sledging with adversaries would only deteriorate the seriousness of the issue.
All is not lost yet as the opponents on the other side have been even more pathetic in handling the ‘Lokpal’ sentiment post-August 2011.

In last two months, many of the steps taken by Team Anna have sent wrong messages. Their personal opinions and professional life issues have only added to the misery. They need to understand the pressure of the intense scrutiny and need to balance their lives accordingly. We chose a life for us. They have chosen to be part of this struggle themselves. It is a different thing that their opponents are, too, committing mistakes only. Whatever we call it mudslinging or character assassination, it is not going to work as it didn’t work during April and August Fasts if the common man continues with the Anna phenomenon attachment.

And the need is to spread this ‘Anna phenomenon attachment’ in the most non-partisan way possible, beyond sledging, above rhetoric. The need is to concentrate the efforts on a coherent ‘Lokpal’ strategy away from the diversionary acts.

Tuesday 25 October 2011


Questions were raised right in the beginning about the formation of ‘Team Anna’ with inclusion of father-son duo, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan. That was in April after Anna’s Jantar Mantar Fast. In last six months since then, we have seen a series of events that give quantum of pertinence to the debate on ‘Anna’ and ‘Team Anna’ being two different identities.

That was unnecessary controversy; any one of them could have served on the panel well. When you start on a path of struggle against a system that is lubricated by the oil of corruption, you need to be extra-cautious to have worked on all the loop-holes of your strategy. Now it seems that was not taken care of. April Fast gave Anna a pan-India presence and August Fast gave him a pan-India acceptance.

The period between April and August should have been a period of consolidation and the movement proceeded in a way that made us believe they were working on to take the things to the next level. All the constituents on shaping this thought seemed to be in place then.

  • Anna’s Pan-India acceptance and his appeal abated the Bhushan duo controversy.
  • Also, Anna’s immediate response on Bhushan’s CD controversy where he said he would send them out if the allegations were true bolstered the atmosphere of trust.
  • Government’s backtracking and sabotaging attempts during the Lokpal meets strengthened the common man’s perception about Anna’s sincerity and government’s cunningness.
  • Ramleela Ground crackdown on Ramdev and his supporters was a black event that helped to mobilize thinking in favour of Anna’s anti-corruption movement.
  • Verbal volleys and rhetoric of government’s so-called crisis managers only added to the anger of the common man.
  • Government’s outright rejection of tabling Anna side’s draft of ‘Lokpal’ in the Parliament sent a message that government was behaving like an autocrat.
  • Inflated confidence of the government by dull reaction on Ramdev crackdown prompted the government to treat Anna’s proposed ‘August Fast’ in the same fashion. They felt their pitch was ready to launch the sledging attack on Anna Hazare and his team members and they went in full throttle.
  • It was precipitated in Anna’s arrest on August 16 after government’s foolish attempts to deny him a place to Fast in the national capital.
  • Meanwhile, many known faces including ruling coalition politicians, ministers and corporate personalities were sent to jail owing to corruption charges during the period.
  • And everything was under intense public scrutiny all this while.
And the galvanization was on ground. The unprecedented public reaction on Anna’s arrest was a slap in the face of a democratically elected but autocratically behaving government. Crowds swell. The whole world watched. Every step by the government to look tough and denying the Anna phenomenon made the Anna phenomenon more substantiated. As the days passed, urban centers got more and more agitated. The spread was remarkable. Government tried all to save its face but its foolish acts in dealing the movement in the past gave Anna phenomenon an upper age when an agreement was reached and Anna broke his Fast. Though the agreement was intended to give leeway to the government as well as to Anna’s movement – the Fast was stretched too long and Anna’s side was looking for a middle path while the government was looking for a face saving – the mass mobilization on a common issue above caste and religion biases made the Anna phenomenon true Gandhian embodiment of the fight against corruption. Anna Hazare came to symbolize it. Analyses were written. Anna was written to be the 2nd Gandhi. Some studies after the August Fast told us he was far ahead of Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh as the leading national figure of India. The mass mobilization made him larger that life.

And this larger than life phenomenon somewhere brought a sense of complacency; complacency that diverted the focus; complacency that led ‘Team Anna’ overlook its structural, ideological and functional weak points. Week points that were there since the movement started gaining momentum. The ‘Team Anna’ got more and more of eyeballs and, therefore, started increasing scrutiny and debates on its activities.

  • Father-son duo in the team was an ideological compromise.
  • Differences with Ramdev and Ramdev’s political ambitions to steal the show that led to the Ramleela Ground crackdown – Ramdev’s presence in the team was again a functional and ideological compromise.
  • Justice Santosh Hegde expressed his feelings very clearly on his reservations about the way the movement progressed.
  • Like Bhushans, Agnivesh, too, have had a controversial past and now we see him opening fronts against the Team Anna.
  • Though Team Anna managed media very well, it could not manage its internal differences that came out through media reports. During August Fast negotiations with the government, differences among the core members of the team became media headlines. Santosh Hegde and Agnivesh were of the view that Anna was taking too tough a stand. Some reports said Arvind Kejriwal was the main impediment in the way of reaching a workable solution while some others reported on high-pitched war of words among Team Anna members on August 26 night when Kejriwal told the press that talks were broken.
  • Agnivesh’s CD controversy is an ignominy.
Three key members of the core Team Anna – Santosh Hegde, Ramdev and Agnivesh – are not part of it.

So along with the positives earned by Team Anna through foolish steps of the government as well as by Anna’s simplicity and resolve, co-existent was its structural negative. This anomaly later on created ideological and functional problems resulting in a flawed vision.

Anna Hazare was always different from this ‘Team Anna’. Mahatma Gandhi, too, consulted his lieutenants before outlining a campaign. But Anna’s lieutenants are not Mahatma’s lieutenants. Anna has come to embody the Gandhian spirit but to fight corrupt and cunning politicians he needs to have political acumen. Mahatma was one of the greatest political visionaries of his time that certainly Anna is not. That makes structure of Team Anna all the more important. And the real problem lies here.

  • The team looks confused on its trajectory ahead – becoming impatient on its promises to wait till the Winter Session of the Parliament shown in active campaigning in Hisar bypoll.
  • Though the August Movement ended up well, no efforts were made to refocus the strategy on taking the ‘Jan Lokpal’ movement to the Indian hinterland.
  • Only two faces – Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal have been doing most of the talking – a mass movement needs envisioned leaders at various levels.
  • Like Bhushans, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal have their own sphere of social activity life and so their own agendas resulting in controversies like Prashant Bhushan’s Kashmir statement controversy, Kejriwal’s remarks on Anna and the Parliament and most recently Kiran Bedi’s inflated bills controversy.
  • Undue controversy was generated on diverting the agenda to other issues like election reforms when there have been no tangible gains yet on the core issue – ‘Lokpal’.
  • Anna has not spoken something new on taking the movement further. He started a blog but the nature of posts that it has is mostly reactionary in nature – to react on statements of government spokespersons or to react on increasing controversies related to Team Anna. His interviews, too, are largely centered on warning the government or repeating the old things.
  • Anna has not consolidated his gains so of us. He has not consolidated his team. Recently two members of the ‘India Against Corruption’ core group, PB Rajagopalan and Rajinder Singh, social activists with significant contribution, left it. Some more are voicing their views on leaving the group. Apart from the political tilt, they allege of absence of internal democracy and dictatorial ways of Arvind Kejriwal as underlying reasons.
Anna phenomenon is largely built on trust, simplicity and honesty of Anna Hazare and plight of the masses victim of corruption. He has been able to mobilize masses. The next step has to be taking it further to the Indian hinterland and getting an effective ‘Lokpal Bill’ passed. That requires a Team Anna structured at multiple levels of functional efficiency but bound by the glue of one ideology, i.e., the anti-corruption struggle. And certainly, it is not the ‘now amorphous’ looking Team Anna or to put it in a more disciplined way – the people who pledged to work with the Gandhian activist in strengthening the anti-corruption movement.

This Team Anna and Anna phenomenon are two different entities at the moment. And this is impeding the anti-corruption crusade. Though nothing much is lost as of yet, some damage-control exercise is needed immediately. Right from the beginning, it has been a peoples’ movement and it needs ‘the right people’ now. The sense of the need has to be desperate and urgent as it is not clear yet how a Team Anna coherent with the Anna phenomenon would take shape. 

Monday 24 October 2011


The Shivling in the Shool Tankeshwar Mahadev Temple

Shivling - Shool Tankeshwar Mahadev
Shivling - Shool Tankeshwar Mahadev - Side view 
Shivling - Shool Tankeshwar Mahadev - Another view
Shool Tankeshwar Mahadev - Inside the temple 
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

Sunday 23 October 2011


Efforts are being made to renovate the temple. A ghat has been built at the Ganga facilitating the movement of devotees - from the main temple to the Holy Mother. Efforts have also been put into maintaining the balance of a countryside simplicity and charm with increasing influx of tourists from across the world. 

Shool Tankeshwar ghat

Shool Tankeshwar ghat on a stormy day

Shool Tankeshwar ghat - another view

Shool Tankeshwar Temple - Main Entrance

Arching the Temple 
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

Saturday 22 October 2011


Some undated stone idols from the scenic, quiet and captivating place of Lord Shiva by the Holy Ganga flowing through the hamlet Madhopur Kot, a 15 Kms ride from Banaras Hindu University. 
Undated stone idol (1) in the temple premises
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

Undated stone idol (2) in the temple premises
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey
Undated stone idol (3) in the temple premises
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey
Undated stone idol (4) in the temple premises
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

Friday 21 October 2011

जो बिखरा है, जो टूटा था,

कुछ बरस गया कुछ बिखर गया 
दिल के अँधेरे से रात जो गुजरी तो 
छोड़ गयी अपना उजाला,
जिसने दिल से कहा, 
खोने पाने को पलों में मत रोको 
कुछ बातें, कुछ यादें, कुछ लोग
हमेशा के लिए बस जाते हैं 
जीवन में, पलों की बंदिशों से दूर 
पल कभी कुछ कहते हैं, 
कभी कुछ और सुना जाते हैं 
कुछ शब्द कहीं खो जाते हैं,
कुछ अर्थ कहीं लम्हों पर थम जाते हैं 
रोका तो था, पर, 
रोकने से कभी कौन रुका है 
कहीं कुछ बिखरा है तो, 
उस दर्द में समा जाओ,
यादों की जो दुनिया है अपना लो 
आंसू आते हैं तो मत रोको 
बरस जाने दो, बहा ले जाने दो अँधेरे को 
जो बिखरा है, जो टूटा था, 
क्या बनने का सबब नहीं होता? 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

Thursday 20 October 2011


It is debatable to say if the campaign by the team of Anna Hazare really made a difference on the outcome of the Hisar bypoll but it did and is certainly doing what it needed to do to manage the sentiment in its favour. What it has achieved symbolically, Congress has lost. Though the Congress party was not expected to win, it ended up with worst after security of its veteran candidate Jai Prakash was forfeited. The reactions by the Congress side seem more to legitimize the stand and gains of Anna Hazare side than to qualify the Congress to deny any hand by Anna Hazare campaign in the ‘now’ significant symbolic loss to the party. See this.

The Congress candidate warned Arvind Kejriwal of consequences of public anger and it was only natural when the person who attacked Kejriwal in Lucknow was being linked to the Congress even before it surfaced that he was Congress Sewa Dal member till 2009.

The perceptive claims of the difference made by the Anna Hazare side seemed to get positive nod by other acts of Congress as well.

Meeting of Ralegan Sarpanch with Rahul Gandhi was being much written about. A Congress MP arranged for it. A group from Ralegan arrived Delhi and stayed at accommodation arranged by ‘some’ Congress members. Anna, too, softening his stand invited Rahul to Ralegan. Everything was all across the media. Reports of Anna-Rahul and Anna-Congress thaw were being projected as big scoop. In spite of such media frenzy on the issue, Rahul Gandhi didn’t issue any denial or clarification on the meet. That was before Hisar bypoll results. Results came and Rahul Gandhi had sudden change of mind. The scene was totally changed after the Congress party was decimated in the election. All of a sudden, it was informed that Rahul wasn’t aware of the Ralegan team visit and therefore was unable to give time to them due to his busy schedule.

The thaw was thudded.

Anna Hazare took it as insult and immediately called back his people. Later on, he issued statement saying Rahul would never be welcomed in Ralegan.

As if these acts of the Congress party (in addition to the desperate statements issued by its spokespersons denying the Anna factor) were not enough, it announced a massive PR exercise in UP post-Deepawali. It was said Rahul Gandhi would lead the campaign focusing on the 2012 assembly election. But again its timing is something that is adding positively to the Hisar Anna factor. This announcement came at a time when members of the Anna Hazare group are on UP tour to ‘strengthen’ the anti-corruption movement. And as Anna has warned the Congress again on the ‘Lokpal Bill’, message went that it was a panic state response to the Anna factor campaign. Congress party looked worried of the proposition that the central government would be alleged of keeping ill-intent on the ombudsman issue. And allegations of conspiracy in assaults on Anna Hazare team members and one of the attacker coming out to be a former Congress member only added to it though Kejriwal’s attacker has been member of SP and BSP in past.

Every act of Congress is going against it adding to the negative public sentiment. And so the projected gains to the ‘Anna factor’ seem more a result of panic acts of the Congress party at the moment.

And at the same time, it is adding to the sense of complacency in some of key members of ‘Team Anna’ like Kejriwal or Kiran Bedi that is reflected in statements like ‘Anna is above the Parliament’. Anna, too, issued the statement that it was just his team this time, in Hisar, next time he himself would campaign against the Congress party for the ‘Lokpal Bill’ if the same was not passed by the winter session of the Parliament.

Anna factor might not have been that effective in Hisar as the Congress party has made it look like. It is true the Anna Symbolism has got a pan-India acceptance after the August Movement but the next stage that was to be was not taken care of. The next step of the strategy was to be investing resources to reach out to the hinterland – intellectual and human resources with the Gandhian spirit could have embarked on the journey efficiently. But that was not done.

Anna Hazare has sustained his line of opposing the Congress party in upcoming elections if it doesn’t pass the ‘Lokpal Bill’ by the winter session of the Parliament. They should have waited but they didn’t and campaigned against the Congress candidate in Hisar and helped win Kuldeep Bishnoi. Can they guarantee that others in the election fray including Bishnoi and Ajay Chautala were clean on issue of corruption? They cannot and India as a nation cannot afford one wrong move to be replaced with another wrong precedent. And so the agenda of the ‘Team Anna’ is looking more like of engaging in political cat-fight. Two prominent members of the IAC core committee have left in last two days while many others are considering quitting. Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi have been in controversies on the personal front with potential to hit the anti-corruption movement, one for making controversial statement on Kashmir while the other for submitting inflated bills for air-fare.

All these developments are the most-telling example of how the anti-corruption movement is losing its focus. ( And how effective ‘Anna factor’ is going to be in elections on an all-India canvas is a litmus test sort of thing that will be tested in the upcoming UP election. Hisar was in catchment area of Delhi, epicenter of the August Movement. UP is a different trajectory where issues based elections have been a thing of yore. Accessing these hinterlands not just in UP but across India should have been the next phase of the anti-corruption movement. It is not just about getting the ‘Lokpal Bill’ enacted but it is more about creating a movement and chain of organizations and activists like the ‘RTI Movement’ so that ‘Lokpal’ could give us, the society, good returns as the ‘RTI Act’ has been able to.

It is also not about being political in the fight, another debate about the anti-corruption movement. You need to be thinking like a politician when the very people you are protesting against are career politicians with questionable history of committing on issues. If Anna Hazare mixes elements of political maneuvering in his strategy, there is nothing wrong in that. But the spirit should be pure. It should symbolize the purity that made millions believe in the word ‘Anna’. We need to go back to the text book definition of politics where it is defined as a social function acting as wheel of an organized society. It is the present political class who has distorted the definition. The anti-corruption movement needs to be political but at the same time it needs to maintain the spirit of the text book definition.

We should not allow the Anna Symbolism to be diluted so soon. We need it to work on a pan-India scale including its hinterlands. Anna Hazare should not allow the stakes involved in cleaning the system to be compromised. There are good people. They will come forward for the movement. All they need is the backing of good intent and the ‘Team Anna’ needs to understand it. Anna Hazare needs to make them understand. We need a non-partisan political fight and not a political cat-fight.

Someone has rightly said – we need to understand the difference between ‘Anna’ and ‘Team Anna’. 

Wednesday 19 October 2011

आ भी जाओ तुम अब के

ख्याल कुछ यूँ ही बुनते हुए 
तुम्हारी बातों से बातें करते हुए 
हमारी यादों की डोर थामे हुए 
जीने की राह पर चलते हुए 
खुद के जूनून में बढ़ते हुए 
तुम्हारे वजूद से मिलते हुए 
वो पल जो थे हमारे, 
जीते हुए, फिर से गढ़ते हुए
आ भी जाओ तुम अब के 
ख्यालों का करार फिर से, 
तुम्हारी बातों का सुकून चाहता है 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

©/IPR: Ragini Chaubey

Tuesday 18 October 2011


Human first - we all are fellow Indians - when are we going to realize it?

Another case of sexual harassment of a girl from the Northeast in Delhi! A Naga girl from Manipur was assaulted on the night of October 17 in Timarpur area. She was molested at a public telephone booth and even then the molester is at large. Past experience tells us how active is the police going to be? A while ago an Assamese girl was raped! Some time ago a brother and sister were allegedly beaten on protesting to preserve their dignity and self-respect; it was followed by another two youngsters from the Northeast being beaten!

Increasing comments on immigrants by the power elite – is Delhi witnessing a percolation of Mumbai’s culture of open hatred against other Indians? Okay, politicians make comments but some of these politicians have grown the political ladder exploiting this xenophobic sentiment of masses only.

Its not just with immigrants from the Northeast, stereotyping efforts are being directed against people from other parts especially Eastern India and Haryana.

Delhi, being the Capital city (state if it really qualifies!) cannot be treated like a Mumbai or a Chennai or an Ahemedabad or to say any other state of dominion of the Federal India in being accorded an exclusive aura of citizenry for those who reside here. If it symbolizes the seat of power of the Indian nation, it must be allowed to inculcate a cosmopolitan culture encompassing all Indians. And yet, Municipal Corporation of Delhi is beginning to reserve 85% of its jobs for domiciled Delhiites.

  • It’s not implicating all the Delhiites but how come a ‘Dilli Dil Waalon Ki’ be so insensitive!
  • And we make so much of noise when we ‘Indians’ face such incidents in countries like Australia, UK or elsewhere!
  • No rhetoric but figures tell it as evident from increasing number of cases and things are getting worse, it’s not just about stereotyping now!
  • What else can we assume after increasing debates on themes like ‘girls or people from the Northeast easy target in Delhi!’ though ‘these very easy targets’ and multitudes of other migrants and professionals provide subsistence and growth to a large chunk of the middle class Delhi in the form of the rent they pay!
  • Seventy-eight out of hundred people from North-East India living in Delhi face racial discrimination, with crime against women, human trafficking and violence against people from the community emerging as major concerns, reveals a research study by North-East Support Centre and Helpline (NESCH).
  • Of the 96 criminal case studies involving people from the North-East based here, 58 per cent were crimes against women (including molestation, human trafficking, beating, rape and attempt to rape), 26 per cent crimes against men, 5 per cent murders, 6 per cent non-payment of salary, 3 per cent related to non-refund of rent deposit and missing persons and 1 per cent media bias.
Why migrants are commoditized as something to be exploited for some petty means to be gained!

  • Sometimes Mr Chidambram, sometimes its CM, sometimes some other senior functionary – they simply namecall and question the sovereign rights of other fellow Indians – to come and stay at Delhi!
  • The league is long with like of Shiv Sena, MNS and so-called ‘Marathi Pride’ – Gujarat is for Gujarati, Rajasthan for Rajasthani and similar sectarian voices coming from almost parts of India, it’s the only the matter of scale they are being raised at.
  • And Delhi has been heartless, following somewhat like Beijing in removing its slum clusters in the name of modernization that is being attributed to its lowest decadal population growth rate since 1931. But the worry is there is no answer to where they’re gone. They are human beings like us!
  • We need to denounce such practices: regionalism and sectarianism is that bane of India that can wipe out the only saving grace that we just have started to realize-the power of civil society with successful Binayak Sen and Anna Hazare campaigns.
  • And it becomes imperative to act as soon and as sincerely as we can see how political fraternity is acting to derail the gains of the movement.
So it’s not that politicians are going to come forward to check this intensifying flame of regionalism as it doesn’t fit in their vote bank politics. It again comes to us-the civil society. Let’s denounce all such practices by fellow Indians of Delhi towards other fellow Indians!

We need the vital signs of a healthy democracy now and Delhi, being the Capital seat of India, should lead process of reform instead of complementing to the sectarian politics of the likes of Shiv Sena or MNS.